Privacy is Dead

Fitness Apps Might Be Selling Info About How it Takes You 20 Minutes to Run That One, Sad Mile

Yet another reason to stop exercising.
Fact: the full benefits of this workout will not kick in until every step of it is tweeted. (Photo: Getty)

Fact: the full benefits of this workout will not kick in until it is tweeted. (Photo: Getty)

Unless you’re one of those annoying people who loves working out and tweeting about it, chances are you find fitness apps to be annoying at best and shame-inducing at worst. And now, it’s been revealed that some fitness and health apps could be selling your bodily deets to insurance companies and advertisers, making them even more nefarious.

And here we thought companies produced free apps because they just love shaming us for our dietary choices. Nope, it turns out they’re out to make money, too.

“The firms are harvesting information via popular health and fitness apps available in the UK including jogging app MapMyRun,” The Daily Mail reports, adding that the 20 most visited fitness apps transmit information to nearly 70 companies.

Because most consumers can’t be arsed to actually read any apps’ terms of service, Emma Carr of Big Brother Watch points out to the Daily Mail, the app-makers might not even be breaking any rules. Related tip: if you’re motivated enough to keep track of all the calories you consume and burn, you shouldn’t be too lazy to read the accompanying contract before you tap I AGREE.

Most creepily, the information could be sold to insurance companies who would “use it to set premium prices,the Mail points out. But many app companies “say they do not sell their information about their users and any user information transmitted is not personally identifiable.” Instead, the info is allegedly used to better the apps–which clearly isn’t working too well, as people’s run times are still showing up in our Twitter feeds daily thanks to their handy apps.

So, like the time we found out that our weird rash-oriented Google queries are actually a hot commodity, we’re reminded once again that most free online services do have a cost–and when a record of your questionable diet becomes the product being sold, it’s easy to feel like the healthiest thing of all would be to consult some human professionals and keep your workout log to yourself.

Follow Molly Mulshine on Twitter or via RSS. mmulshine@observer.com